Lethal words

Last week at the US Republican CPAC conference, Daily Wire host Michael Knowles said that “for the good of society… transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely” to loud applause. He now claims that he didn’t mean that trans people should be eradicated; just “transgenderism”.

Let’s try that with some other isms, shall we? How about, “for the good of society… Judaism must be eradicated from public life entirely”? No? “Islamism must be eradicated from public life entirely?” No? “Catholicism must be eradicated from public life entirely?”

“Transgenderism” is primarily used as a pejorative term as a synonym for trans people, but in its most neutral sense it means having the quality or characteristic of being transgender. It’s not something we do. It’s who we are. So eliminating transgenderism means eliminating us.

This is not a fringe view or limited to the US Right. Most of the UK anti-trans groups have signed a declaration demanding the elimination of “transgenderism”, and the founding text of the so-called Gender Critical movement is Janice Raymond’s The Transsexual Empire, which says that “transsexualism” should be “morally mandated out of existence.” Author Helen Joyce, a leading UK anti-trans voice and part of the anti-trans Sex Matters lobby group, has said that trans people are a “huge problem for a sane world” and that the number of transitioned people should be “reduced”.

This is genocidal rhetoric. It’s pretty clear that a lot of people don’t understand what genocide actually means, and they claim that as nobody’s currently putting trans people in camps then it isn’t genocide. But that’s not true. The Holocaust Museum notes that there are five ways to conduct genocide “with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part” a group. Killing is the best known one, but there are others. The five ways are:

  1. Killing members of the group
  2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
  3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part
  4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
  5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

Withholding vital, life-saving healthcare or forcing trans people to detransition meets 2, 3 and 5; making it effectively impossible for trans people to exist in society is number 3; refusing to legally recognise trans people without them having surgery, effectively demanding sterilisation, is 4; conversion therapy and refusing to recognise trans people’s identities is a clear example of 5.

All of these things are in the anti-trans bills in the US, which include forced detransition, bans on public participation (including wearing your own clothes in public) and even legislation that would enable children to be kidnapped if you believed they might be exposed to trans-affirming support.

Quibbling over language is a distraction. You cannot separate “transgenderism” from trans people, and that means you cannot eliminate the former without the latter. All the language does is enable you to try and pretend you aren’t saying what you are very clearly saying.



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